Finding contentment when there is none

“There’s nothing new under the sun — you just get a can of paint out”

There are a number of reasons why the median tenure for workers age 25 to 34 is 3.2 years. There are a lot of factors that could cause someone to leave a job they once loved. Here are a few:

Burnout

Lack of inspiration

Desire to do something different

Expansion

Promotion

Change in lifestyle

There are many other reasons that aren’t mentioned above, but these are the first that came to my mind. Working in tech opens the door for a lot of opportunity. And sometimes too much opportunity can cause some to close to the door on a job that still has much to offer.

How do you know when its time to leave or get your head out of the clouds?

That’s not for me to answer. :)

But I would like to share a few ideas on how to maintain contentment (and dare I say) joy with a job that you’re happy with. Is that a paradox or what?

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

What sparked the change?

If you’re considering applying for a new job, then it may help to understand how you got to this point. I listed a few reasons earlier, but what is it about your current role that makes the new role exciting? In a nutshell — scrutinize your motives.

Do you need more money?

Are you irritated and need a change of scenery?

Are you still in love with the product (if there is a product)

Is work/life balance nonexistent?

Get to the bottom of what sparked the change and then evaluate from there. I’d like to clarify and say that there’s nothing wrong with changing jobs. But if you don’t understand your reasons for doing so, you could find yourself in the same boat a year later in your new role.

Understanding your reasons for moving on will help answer the next question.

Can this be fixed?

I know, I know. It’s not fun to talk about our problems. But there’s a reason why people are paid to talk about them — it helps.

The article, twelve ways to keep your employees happy without a raise said this:

“Transparent communication and a simple acknowledgement that we heard you can go a long way.” — Laura Grieco, HR and administration director at Parkmobile

The point stressed here is communication.

Some are of the thought that its better to over-communicate than to not communicate at all. I too have echoed this sentiment on many occasions. But often times, we don’t apply this rule when it comes to showing appreciation for others. It’s often assumed that others know how we feel about them. But such erroneous thinking can lead to a depleted company morale. Something no one wants to deal with.

At Wildbit, we use Bonusly to recognize each other when we do great work. If you haven’t been feeling the love lately, why not suggest something similar to get the ball rolling.

Each job comes with its list of challenges. But talking about them with those who are in a position to help could work wonders. Feeling stressed out or overworked? Give your employer a chance to remedy the situation before making a grand exit. How?

Schedule a call with your manager or team lead. Try not to make bold threats that you will leave the company if something doesn’t get fixed. While you may resonate with those feelings, it doesn’t exactly scream that you want to make things work. And if things don’t pan out, then you know what you need to do. But at least you tried.

So you decided to stay — now what?

There are situations when its best for both you and the company that you depart. But for this article, I’ll be optimistic and say that you remained at your current employer.

Now, how do you move forward? If you’re still feeling new job fever then there’s hope.

Try to view your company through a different lens. Notice the emphasis on the company and not your job. What’s the difference? While focusing on your role can lead you to a measure of success, I’ve found that thinking about others is often where the bread and butter is.

Here are a few ways to throw a fresh coat of paint on a job you’ve been at for a while.

  1. Talk to other people. I know, this can be hard. Especially if you’re introverted like myself. But ask questions and get to know people. Even those who may not be on your team. Think beyond small talk and ask questions without getting weird. Do they have kids? Animals? Hobbies? I recently learned at our company retreat that one of the developers I rarely interact with loves woodworking. That stirred my interest. Shortly after our discussion, there I was looking up YouTube videos and books with hopes to start a few projects myself.
  2. Work on different projects. If your company allows you to tap into a different space and learn other skills — go for it. Side projects and changing up the routine flow of things can spark creativity and boost your mood.
  3. Think about others who aren’t as privileged. If you’re really stuck in a rut of dissatisfaction with your job, then think about those who don’t have one. If your job allows you to take care of your family, think about how happy you make them because you can provide for them financially.
  4. Most things are not urgent. Be patient, stay calm, go home. This tip comes from the company I’ve had the tremendous pleasure of working for — Wildbit. This reminds us that there are few things in life that can cause anxiety and stress. Don’t make your job a problem by creating anxiety in your head.

Hopefully, this will help anyone considering a job or career change. As for myself, I’m enjoying my time at Wildbit and I hope to spend a long time with these fine folks. But if you are in transition, may your next opportunity lead you to much success. That’s one sentiment we all can share.